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Brain Boosters

Each week, we share interactive challenges with members of MyAlliance for Brain Health.

Week of August 8th:

Take the given words, and by moving a single letter from one word to the other, make a pair of synonyms, or near synonyms. For example, given: Boast - Hip, move the 's' from 'Boast' to 'Hip' creating two synonyms: Boat - Ship.
1. Inks - Tiles 
2. Ride - Relive
3. Gaze - Freed 
4. Snail - Pike 
5. Snag - Cold 



1. Links - Ties

2. Rid - Relieve

3. Graze - Feed 

4. Nail - Spike 

5. Nag - Scold 

Week of August 1st: 

14 dogs in the kennel are poodles. Eight of the dogs wear blue collars. Two of the dogs are neither poodles nor wear blue collars. If five of the dogs are poodles that wear blue collars, how many dogs are in the kennel?


Answer: 19

14 poodles + (8 blue collars – 5 poodles with blue collars = 3 dogs with blue collars that are not poodles) + 2 dogs who are not poodles and are not wearing blue collars = 19 total dogs: 14 poodles and 5 dogs of other breeds.

Week of July 25th:

Can you determine what each group of three words has in common?


Group 1:



golf course


Group 2:






Group 3:





Group 4:





Group 5:






Group 1: they all have holes

Group 2: they all have shells

Group 3: they are all kinds of bears

Group 4: they are all types of drops

Group 5: they can all come in bars

Week of July 18th:

The fish market is selling several kinds of fish. But there aren't any prices listed. You ask about the prices, but the seller only tells you this:


  1. A pound of salmon and a pound of bass are $12.
  2. A pound of bass and a pound of swordfish are $10.
  3. A pound of salmon and a pound of swordfish are $8.
  4. A pound of swordfish and a pound of catfish are $5.


Each price per pound is a whole-dollar amount.  How much is the price per pound for each find of fish?



Salmon = $5 per pound
Bass = $7 per pound
Swordfish = $3 per pound
Catfish = $2 per pound

Week of July 11th:

What is the only city with 3 dotted letters all in a row?




Week of June 27th: 

Unscramble each grouping of letters below to make individual words.




Not great at spelling and/or need a hint?  Think upcoming holiday!







Week of June 20th:

Three people bought a pet one day. Their names were Zach, Rachel, and Hubert. The animals they bought were a snake, a parrot, and a guinea pig. They bought their pets for $100, $50, and $25.

Can you figure out which person bought which animal for which amount of money using these clues?

Zach is allergic to birds

Hubert Couldn’t get the $100 pet, so he bought the snake.

Rachel saved $10 a week for ten weeks so she could get her pet.

The mammal was $25



Zach – Guinea Pig - $25

Rachel – Parrot - $100

Hubert – Snake - $50

Week of June 13th:

An anagram is a word or phrase formed by rearranging the letters of a different word or phrase, typically using all the original letters exactly once. Unscramble the 4 different anagrams below to form other words. The theme is sports.


  1. En Snit
  2. Scams Tying
  3. Flog
  4. Gob Nix



  1. Tennis

  2. Gymnastics

  3. Golf

  4. Boxing

Week of June 6th:

Can you determine what word is missing from those listed below?
begin inch chapel elastic ____ cellar arisen end


Answer:  ice - each word begins with the last two letters of the previous word

Week of May 30th: 

Use the clues given to find two words that rhyme and fit the description. For example, "an obese feline" would be a "fat cat."

1. a good piece of pizza
2. a weird ape
3. a dinner party for wild animals
4. a paw cover for a young cat
5. a robber in charge
6. a wealthy Halloween gal


  1. nice slice

  2. funky monkey

  3. beast feast

  4. kitten mitten

  5. chief thief

  6. rich witch

Week of May 23rd: 

A fly and a flea are trapped in a flue.

How far must the fly and the flea fly to flee the flue?
Said the fly to the flea 'to flee is some number times 3.'
Said the flea to the fly 'but 3 squared is too high.'
Responds the fly 'but it'll also do to have some number times 2.'
'Agreed' said the flea. 'Then so it shall be.'
So now it is up to you. How far must the fly and the flea fly to flee the flue?

Answer:  6 units (pick your own)
3 squared is too high, so we know it is less than nine. Since 3 and 2 are factors there is only one number less than 9 with that property.

Week of May 16th:

Roman numerals IX equate to the modern numeral 9. Roman numeral X is 10, and I is 1. When a smaller Roman numeral comes before a larger Roman numeral, it is subtracted from the larger.

How can you make 6 out of the Roman numeral IX with one stroke?


Answer:  SIX

Week of May 9th:

What word(s) or phrases are represented by each of the 3 puzzles below?


Puzzle 1:



Puzzle 2:



Puzzle 3:

Called Called Called Called
Called Called Called Called
Called Chosen Called Called
Called Called Chosen Called
Called Called Called Called



    1. Cornerstone

    2. Jumping up and down over good news

    3. Many are called but few are chosen

Week of May 2nd: 

Inside each of the following sets of words, there are a pair of smaller words. By putting “&” between them, lo & behold, you'll make a familiar phrase. For example, "Thighbone/Swallowtail" conceals "High & Low."

1. Skyrocketing/Trolley
2. Thermometer/Apoplexy
3. Delaware/Bordering
4. Surprised/Trashiness
5. Throughout/Stumblebum



1. Rock & Roll

2. Mom & Pop

3. Law & Order

4. Rise & Shine

5. Rough & Tumble

Week of April 25th: 

It’s baseball time!  Three men (Manny, Moe, and Jack) with last names Buchalter, Bowser, and Burkhart each play a different position on the baseball diamond (centerfield, catcher, and pitcher).

Can you figure out the last name and position of each player?

1. Manny is the furthest away from the plate.
2. Jack's last name has a repeated letter in it.
3. Moe has to wear a lot of equipment.
4. Manny has one letter in his last name that is within five letters from the end of the alphabet.


Moe- Buchalter- catcher
Jack- Burkhart- pitcher
Manny- Bowser- centerfield

Week of April 18th:

Fiona is 4 years old. Hannah is 4 times as old as Sasha. Sasha is 5 years older than Fiona's cousin Andrew, who is 1 year older than Nick, Fiona's twin brother. How old is Hannah?

Answer:  Hannah is 40 years old.

Week of April 11th:

We start with what a pen can write
Then add an "s" for a tool of lesser might

Change "d" to "n" for an oath professed
Remove letter one for a condition no longer the best

Change "w" to "t" for something forced apart
Reverse my ends, then add an "h" for what's atop a chart

Change "n" to "w" to learn how much an item can fetch
Finally, anagram me for what in baseball may follow a stretch

What did we start with?
What do we end up with?


Each line of this riddle is explained as follows:

1. word - We start with - A "pen can write" a word.
2. sword - Then add an "s" - "for a tool of lesser might" - This alludes to the adage: "The pen is mightier than the sword."
3. sworn - Change "d" to "n" - "for an oath professed"
4. worn - Remove letter one - "for a condition no longer the best" - If something is worn, then its condition has deteriorated.
5. torn - Change "w" to "t" - "for something forced apart"
6. north - Reverse my ends, then add an "h" - "for what's atop a chart" - Switch the first and last letters of "torn" giving "nort", then add an "h" giving "north". "North" (or "N" representing "North") is usually found at the top of a chart.
7. worth - Change "n" to "w" - "to learn how much an item can fetch" - The worth, or value, of something will determine how much money it can get in exchange for it.
8. throw - Finally, anagram me - "for what in baseball may follow a stretch" - "Throw" is an anagram of "worth". In baseball, the pitcher may throw the ball after a certain windup known as a stretch.

Week of April 4th: 

There are 4 clues below. Each clue is related to a type of candy. Try to figure out what each candy is. Good luck!

1. The average worker loves this day.
2. When actors or actresses get a little break.
3. Think of the 4th planet from the sun.
4. Also referred to as “geeks”.


  1. PayDay

  2. Take 5

  3. Mars Bar

  4. Nerds

Week of March 28th 

A group of children is standing in a circle. They are evenly spaced, and the 7th child is directly opposite the 18th child. How many children are there altogether in the circle?


Answer:  22; in half of the circle there are 11 children because 18-7=11. Multiply 11x2=22!

Week of March 21st

There is a word in the English language in which the first two letters signify a male, the first three letters signify a female, the first four signify a great man, and the whole word, a great woman. What is the word?

Answer: Heroine.

Week of March 14th

Below are two Rebus puzzles, which use letters, images, and/or numbers to depict words, phrases, or common expressions. Can you solve them?


1) What are you, as represented by this Rebus? (All temperatures are Fahrenheit):


You: 49 degreesCarrot: 87 degreesBroccoli: 31 degreesCucumber: 49 degreesCauliflower: 20 degreesLettuce: 56 degrees


2) What phrase is represented by the following?111=EGROTG




  1. Cool as a cucumber

  2. Last one is a rotten egglast "1" (one) "=" (is) a "ROT" in "EGG" (rotten egg)

Week of March 7th 

Can you decipher the 3 musical instruments represented below?

1. P O

2. BA BA

3. @ # $ %



  1. Piano (P and O)

  2. Tuba (Two BA)

  3. Cymbals (Symbols)

Week of February 28th 

A firefighter stood on the middle rung of a ladder, spraying water on a burning house. He then climbed up 6 rungs before the heat of the flames caused him to come down 10 rungs. After some minutes he was able to climb 18 rungs to the very top of the ladder. How many rungs did the ladder have?


29 rungs
The firefighter is standing on the middle rung. He climbs up 6 rungs, so he is now at Middle+6. He then goes down 10 rungs, so he is now at Middle-4.  He goes up 18 rungs, so he is now at Middle+14=Top. 14 rungs from the top, 14 rungs from the bottom and the middle rung. 14+14+1=29!

Week of February 21st

Reveal the quote by eliminating the letters of the alphabet that are not part of the quote. The unused letters go in alphabetical order from A-Z.





Week of February 14th

Here’s a fun Valentine’s Day booster! Can you figure out the word behind each clue below by using only the letters found in the word VALENTINES to form the clue’s answer? (We’ll give you the first answer.)

1. number between 8 and 10 = NINE
2. To express anger or a heating duct opening
3. A type of beverage served in a pub
4. Lacking noise
5. Foreign Language
6. Goes away
7. Opposite of odd
8. Necessary to existence or well-being of something





3. ALE






Week of February 7th 

Someone has stolen Beethoven's Wig and has put it in one of four locked boxes. The boxes are numbered from 1,2,3,4 in that order. There are four different keys that each has their own color. Use the clues below to figure out which key goes in which box and to find the box where Beethoven's wig is being kept.

1. The green key goes to the third or fourth box
2. The wig is to the left of the fourth box
3. The wig is to the right of the first box
4. The yellow key is to the left of the wig
5. The blue key is to the right of the yellow key and to the left of the green key
6. The red key goes to the first box


The wig is in the third box
The red key goes to the first box
The yellow key goes to the second box
The blue key goes to the third box
The green key goes to the fourth box

Week of January 31st

A homophone is one of two or more words that sound the same but have different definitions, for example new and knew. Can you determine the five pairs or trios of homophones using the clues given?

1. turn over and over / part in a play

2. sunlight / lift up / destroy

3. catch waves / feudal laborer

4. you climb these / looks fixedly

5. comes from the sky / controls a horse / period of rule


  1. roll / role

  2. rays / raise / raze

  3. surf / serf

  4. stairs / stares

  5. rain / rein / reign

Week of January 24th 

Below are 6 sets of numbers, with each set consisting of 3 numbers. The relationship between the first two numbers is the same throughout every set.  The relationship between the last two numbers is also the same throughout every set, but it is a different relationship than the one the first two numbers share. Try and find the missing numbers:

2 5 10
3 10 20
4 17 34
5 __ __
__ 37 __
__ __ 100



2 5 10
3 10 20
4 17 34
5 26 52
6 37 74
7 50 100

Relationship for first two numbers: square it, add 1 (2 squared=4, 4+1=5)
Relationship for last two numbers: double it (5 doubled = 10)

Week of January 17th

The five words in the group below have something special in common.  They can be transformed into five new words by applying the same exact change to each word. What is the change and what are the resulting five new words?


Answer:  The special thing these words have in common is that when each word is prefixed with the letter "f", the result is a new word that is completely unrelated in meaning to the original word, as follows:

f + action becomes the word faction
f + allow becomes the word fallow
f + lawless becomes the word flawless
f + lower becomes the word flower
f + rail becomes the word frail

Week of January 10th

Rebus puzzles use letters, images and/or numbers to depict words, phrases, or common expressions. Can you solve the three puzzles below?  

 1)  ALLworld
 2)  023456789 lives ever ever ever ever


  1. Small world after all

  2. No one lives forever.

  3. You are out of order (the letters "U" and "R" have traded places; U R out of order).

Week of January 3rd

Four people arrive at a river with a narrow bridge that can only hold two people at a time. It’s nighttime and they have one torch that must be used when crossing the bridge. Person A can cross the bridge in one minute, B in two minutes, C in five minutes, and D in eight minutes. When two people cross the bridge together, they must move at the slower person’s pace. Can they all get across the bridge in 15 minutes or less?

Answer: Yes, they can cross in exactly 15 minutes. The group of four must follow these three steps.

  1. First, A and B cross the bridge and A brings the light back. This takes 3 minutes.

  2. Next, C and D cross and B brings the light back. This takes another 10 minutes.

  3. Finally, A and B cross again. This takes another 2 minutes.

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Mailstop 6002
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